Switching Current Accounts – Does It Risk Your Credit History?

Are you hesitating to switch to a new current account because you’re worried that your credit history will be affected? Do you feel that switching to a new bank and a brand new current account means you have to start all over again in terms of building a good record of credit?

There is absolutely no reason to fear that your past credit record will be wiped clean and that you have start afresh. This guide on currents accounts will help clear up those myths.

Banks often share information about a customer’s financial track record. If you have a clean and positive history you have nothing to worry about. With the sophisticated data sharing that’s in place, all your information is transferred to the new bank. This is done through third party financial data processing companies like Equifax, CallCredit and Experian who help out banks when they need to make decisions about loan approvals or the terms of setting up a new account.

The records maintained about you include information such as

• whether you are registered to vote
• if you have a bad credit history
• if you have applied for loans from various agencies
• whether you have been unsuccessful with prior loan applications
• the number of years you have banked with other banks

Being with the same bank does have a positive impact on your credit record, but moving to another provider does not in any way harm your rating. It also does not cause any problems if you apply for loans in the future.

If you want to switch current accounts, then ask your new bank if they will bear the liability for any mistakes they make while moving your account. Some banks offer cash rewards and incentives to encourage you to make a move. Banks also like stability. While handing out loan approvals, banks would like to know that you will stick around long enough to pay back your debt.

How can you enhance your credit rating? You can bolster your credit score by making your credit card payments promptly within the due date without fail. To achieve this end, stick to just one or two credit cards, and cancel any cards that you don’t use. If you own property, it can be of help because bankers like to lend money to homeowners rather than tenants. Getting yourself registered on the electoral rolls is another way to boost your credit score.

When you apply for loans, limit the number of banks and lending agencies you approach. If you make too many applications for loans, it will be flagged as desperate behavior which could earn you a black mark on your credit rating. Your rating might even be downgraded if the banker or lender does a full credit check against your name every time you apply for a loan. These checks will be registered in your credit history – and not in a nice way. Before applying for a loan, it may be smart to discuss with the bank to see if they would insist on conducting a complete background check. A simple credit check, however, will not get recorded in the register. If your loan application is rejected this also is recorded in your credit history.

What to do with your old current account? It is best to leave your old account open until you have settled into your new account. Under Office of Fair Trading rules, it is legal to maintain as many current accounts as you wish in your name. If you have several standing orders and direct debits set up with your previous account, and some of them don’t get transferred to your new account on time, it might lead to unpaid bills. This is rare, but can leave an adverse impact on your credit rating.

In case you wish to close the old account once you are comfortable with the new one, then simply inform your old bank and submit the relevant forms and documents to close it. You can also take this opportunity to cancel any credit cards that you are not actively using, which can further enhance your credit score and help with any loan applications you make in the future.

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